Flawed Ideologies, Propaganda and the Social Situatedness of Knowledge

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In this paper I focus on the connection between some of Stanley’s claims about propaganda and flawed ideologies, and the idea of the social situatedness or perspective-relativity of knowledge. More precisely, I will try to show how Stanley’s reflections on the nature of propaganda and its relationship with flawed ideologies push us towards the empiricists’ characterisation of the social situatedness of knowledge. Not only do these reflections reveal some important weaknesses of standpoint theories (that is, the claim of epistemic asymmetry between advantaged and negatively advantaged groups, and the necessity of actively achieving a standpoint), but they also support the request for the pluralism, rational critique, cooperation, fair discussion and epistemic integration fostered by social empiricism. This means that the broad idea of the social situatedness of knowledge should be defended and further developed along the lines sketched by social empiricism.

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